A mega project will forever change the face of Kouga and will bring a myriad of opportunities and challenges.
This is the reality facing residents of Kouga, should the Thyspunt Nuclear Power Plant project go ahead.
The Democratic Alliance in Kouga is pro-actively exploring what the impact of a mega project will be on the area and what the best practices are to ensure Kouga is not disadvantaged should the Government continue with the nuclear deal.
“You have no idea what is coming your way,’ is the blunt view of Hercu Venter from MAC Consulting, whose company runs the Lephalale Development Forum, which consists of all the stakeholders in the Municipality where the Medupi Power Station is being constructed.
The Forum was established to bring the developers, community and three spheres of Government (National, Provincial and Local) together to ensure co-operation and communication was maximised between all the various stakeholders.
MAC Consulting is the independent organisation appointed to run the forum and ensure neutrality.
“Lephalale Municipality was totally unprepared for a mega project and this resulted in severe strain being placed on the existing infrastructure,” said Venter.
“The infrastructure could not cope and this led to sewage spills which resulted in court cases, provision of health services and education was lacking, large number of job seekers added to the existing load in the service delivery infrastructure and landfill sites and housing were all negatively impacted.
From a developer’s point of view, they want good and safe living standards for their workers, an infrastructure that works and a peaceful operating environment.
The community expects business opportunities, job creation and, skills development and Corporate Social Investment in schools, health facilities, training colleges and infrastructure.
Meeting all these expectation is a challenge and leads to anger and unhappiness when expectations are not met”
Elza Van Lingen, the leader of the DA in Kouga said that her party was determined that, should Thyspunt go ahead, the Kouga’s towns need to benefit, become functional and that job opportunities must be created for local residents.
“We have no indication whether Thyspunt will go ahead or not, but we are doing our homework and will be prepared should it happen and the DA wins the election in 2016.
We have no evidence that proper planning is taking place at present, which is very scary should all the rumours that Thyspunt is a done deal be true.
The Kouga’s infrastructure is already not coping with the demands placed upon it by 100 000 residents and the reality is that our population could easily double should a mega project worth R 200 billion take place within our Municipality.”
“I will be engaging with the Municipal Manager and insist that a Forum be established so that we can be prepared should Thyspunt go ahead.
In fact, provision for such a Forum has already been included in the IDP of Kouga, so there is no reason why it should not be established,” added Van Lingen.
The Lephalale Development Forum managed to get a number of projects funded by the developers, including a water treatment plant upgrade (R 87 million), Water reservoirs (R 6 million), Water supply (R 300 million), Sewage plants (R 92 million), Electricity upgrades (R 235 million), Access roads (R 33 million) and Arterial road upgrades (R 200 million).
One thing must be clear – and that is Eskom will not wave a magic wand over Kouga and fix all the problems. They will fund projects that are of material benefit to themselves.
The Community and the Municipality must identify projects that are of critical importance to the area, to be able to present these to Eskom should Thyspunt happen.